Giving Your Heart and Head Time to Catch Up…

 

Harvey 

…As I scroll through Facebook, I continue to see pictures and stories of how flood waters have violently left an unwanted mark in peoples lives.  Neighbors who have lost everything…. homes, cars, and other personal belongings.  The devastation has been unreal, and yet SO VERY REAL TO MANY!!

As heart breaking as it is, there are also stories and pictures that are a wonderful illustration of  strength, community, and redemption….It’s not going to happen overnight, and it won’t be easy, but we are HOUSTON STRONG! 🙂

There are no words to really describe what people are going through or what their “new normal” is since Harvey…because, although my heart knows loss, it’s different, and I can’t pretend to understand what people are feeling at this moment…and I’m just so sorry.

 

My Personal Storm

I recently explained to someone that on August 21,  Grace started school, 9th grade, High school, without her brother…A new schedule, a new season…Adjusting to new days without Warren.  This will be our 3rd (school) year.  With time, practice and lots of prayer, we are figuring out how to use certain “tools” to protect our hearts and push through the hard!

So, when Harvey hit….and school came to an abrupt halt, my heart and my head were thrown for a loop.  Literally a storm hit our city and my heart all at the same time. I must  confess that the storm and all the pain and suffering around me has been a trigger, and my heart misses Warren so terribly…More than usual, and its been difficult to shake..

However, I am realizing, that although it’s unique for all of us, people are hurting and trying to make sense of their current situation…and wondering when/if things will ever be normal again.

Truth & Encouragement

In a message given by our pastor after the storm, he said something that I needed to hear and wanted to share …. Not that you need permission from me, but maybe you need permission from you….

It’s OK to grieve over the loss of your “stuff”..your house, your things, the way things used to be.  

It is not materialistic to walk into your house and feel sad about the things that are ruined or dirty or missing.  It must be a terrible feeling to walk into a place where you once felt safe and comfortable, have snuggled on the couch and watched movies, raised a family, gathered for holidays, celebrated birthdays..and see such disorder.  It’s like someone came in without permission and invaded your personal space…

I’m a very sentimental person…and especially since Warren’s death, there are things and places, and memories of how life used to be (should be) that are very special to me.

Give yourself the freedom to grieve.  Allow yourself the opportunity to feel the pain that comes with loss..even the loss of things.  Remembering too, that this process is different for everyone.

I keep hearing, “this is not a race, its a marathon.”…Such Truth!!…..It’s going to take time! Your heart and your head need time to catch up…It’s not always.. “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and charge forward…”

One of my favorite texts to receive is one that a friend or family member will send reminding me ..”we are still with you..”  I’m learning that not all of us are “first responders”…but this road will be long for many and there is a lot of work still to be done.

I still Believe He Is Good and His Promises are True

The bible talks about the various trials that we will endure as Christ followers.  We are not to be surprised by them.  It is in these times of great difficulty that I pray our faith is increased …I pray that we remain steadfast.

I can’t say it’s not a little messy walking out our faith in the middle of pure exhaustion, uncertain times, and heavy hearts…but I do know that at the end of the day…Jesus is enough!

There will be days when we feel like throwing our arms in the air and shouting, “I can’t!” ..and go ahead…Do it!  You’ll feel better!  But in that moment of complete desperateness, I believe He reaches down and strengthens our weak and feeble hands and makes straight our path.

Yes!  I really still believe this ..and I do not pretend to know or understand your personal journey…and I certainly don’t make light of it, but I do trust that the only Hope worth holding onto is Jesus.

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.  Psalm 62:8

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I have set the Lord before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope!  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  Lamentations 3:21-24

 

The Close of Another Summer…

 

Grace came downstairs a few mornings ago and  began sharing with me a dream she had about Warren.  As dreams go, the details didn’t all fit together and some of it was random…However, one detail about her dream that made me smile was the first question she said she asked Warren when she saw him…” Do you have your license?  Can you drive me around?”

I laugh with tears streaming down my face because of ALL the changes that come with going to HS..this year…how you will get to school as a freshman is a really BIG deal!!  Grace secured a ride from an upper classman weeks ago! 🙂

The uncomfortable reality of this topic, that stares us square in the face, is that Warren should be driving her to school.  He would have turned 16 back in March and would be happily agreeing to drive her and her friends to school and home…HA!!  (I’m only kidding about that part….He was a super nice brother..but, I’m not that naive!!)  Regardless of how he felt about it, that’s the way it would be.

Warren was only 13 when he died, but even still…these type of things run through your brain as you look ahead to the future and I still can’t believe its ALL different now…No older brother paving the way.  I have even struggled with being a new freshman mom because… It’s.  Just.  Not.  The.  Way.  It.  Should.  Be.  I should already know all the ins and outs of HS.

This summer has seemed long to me.  No big trips like the last 2 summers…A few short trips ..Oh but we did go to Boston.  We got to tag along with Bill on a business trip.  That was fun!  I had never been.

I started a couple bible studies this summer…didn’t finish either of them.  My time with Jesus has been unique and I’m still not sure how to put it into words.  My prayer the last several weeks has been that God would search me and know me…to search my heart thoroughly, to know my thoughts.  To find any hurtful way in me and to lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139)  Where Jesus, do I need to repent, let go, start fresh?  Is my life fully surrendered and devoted?  What am I holding back?  Holding onto?

He’s been stretching me and teaching me new things this summer…I took a break from my usual daily scrolling of Facebook, because I found myself comparing and even jealous of attention/likes others were getting.  I haven’t blogged all summer because I began to question my motive…Why am I writing?  Do I care too much about how many people read my posts?  Am I seeking attention and approval from my peers rather than my focus being on Jesus….It’s easy to get lost in needing the approval of friends, family, and even strangers.

Tonight, as we prepare for Grace’s first day of HS, my eyes are puffy and red.  My heart is sitting inside my chest on the verge of breaking…It’s just so much to wrap my head around…High School.  Grace growing up and changing right before my very eyes. Wishing with every stinking breath that I could call to Warren and he would answer.

We went to dinner tonight, and as we got seated the waiter asked if it was just the 3 of us.  We said yes, and he began removing the 4th place setting..saying something like, “Well, lets get this out of the way..”  A voice inside my head screamed, “No!  Leave it.”  We’ve eaten together just the 3 of us a hundred times, but tonight I just felt sad about it!….And then like it usually happens, the sadness left, and we laughed and enjoyed our time!

There is a big event coming up, IGNiTE, a week from tonight.  I will share more about it later, but one of the prayers for this night as we gather to worship and pray for the upcoming school year, is that the students who know and love Jesus would be a LIGHT that shines brightly for Him.

This reminded me of something Warren had written and I want to close with his words that have encouraged me so….

“We are the light of the world.  We have the answer.  We know what to do.  We were made to be proclaimers.  It would be silly to think that we could put a city on a hill and hide it…in the same way, a Christian cannot keep from proclaiming the gospel.  We are the light and should not be hidden but lifted high to shine our bright light on the earth.”

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that hey may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

 

‘Time Hop’ shared these pics a few days.  4 years ago….

Warren Austin Barfield, you were a LIGHT and I miss you like crazy.